At any university, feeling like you are just a number is completely unacceptable. Making sure that important people know your name tends to be easier at smaller universities, but with a little effort on your part, anybody can learn your name: even at a larger university. One person who especially needs to know your name, interests and experience is your advisor.
Kelly Scott, a sophomore at University of Mississippi, has needed to figure out strategic ways to allow her advisor to get to know her at such a big school. Scott says that the best way to get to know your advisor is through getting involved in your major. “As a journalism major, I work at the Student Media Center; and so does my advisor. It’s a great way for your advisor to see you going the extra mile to learn more, and he or she will be able to pick you out of a crowd of hundreds of students.” If your advisor teaches a course within your major, Scott also recommends in enrolling in his or her section. “It helped me so much because he could tell how strong my work ethic is and saw who I am as a student and person,” she says.
Additionally, Scott recommends “meeting with your advisor to discuss classes and other opportunities to further your experience or education.”
“Plus, she says, “they can take the time to get to know you one on one.”
Austin Young, a junior at Johns Hopkins University, says that his advisor has helped him find “opportunities for research and gave [him] outside connections with important people in [his] field.” Without this personal connection, it would have been more unlikely that Young would have been able to enrich his college experience in these ways. “I think that I am fortunate in that it was very easy for me to create a personal relationship, since my department is smaller than most others.” Easy or not, Young values his relationship with his advisor and has benefited from his efforts.
Kate Forton, a sophomore at Gettysburg College, had to make an added effort with her advisor, since “he never answered emails and was not great about keeping in touch.” Her problem was solved when she changed majors and consequently, changed advisors. About her new advisor, Forton says, “we check in often; he’s one of my professors and my director for the play whom I see almost every day.” Now that she ‘clicks’ with her advisor, Forton finds it much more enjoyable to make the effort to stay in touch. “I think it is very important to have someone for guidance and help,” she says—especially if you legitimately enjoy sharing your successes and future plans with him or her.
So now that you know becoming a person in your advisor’s eyes isn’t too difficult, head to the nearest mall and buy a set of ‘best friends’ necklaces! Otherwise, getting through college may be rough; in that case, may the odds be ever in your favor.